Those computer updates are important!

We provide computer support (including Macs, PCs, servers and network) to many clients in the Bristol and Bath area. Whilst we like to see our clients on a regular  basis we would really like to see some computers less frequently.

In the last year the Malware writers have discovered new methods of infecting PCs. It looks like that Windows XP based machines can no longer be made secure; even with the best anti-virus software installed and all the Microsoft updates applied. Using Firefox as opposed to Internet Explorer is also no protection.

Specifically PDF files can now be infected and this is now a very prevalent vector of infecting PCs. Over the years more or less everyone has come to regard the .pdf format as safe and not able to carry executable functions. However this is now seen to be just plain wrong and pdf’s can be manipulated to carry malicious code.

Adobe and others are trying to address this so it is vitally important that when you see that little indicator on the taskbar saying updates are available that you apply those updates. I cannot stress this enough; apply the Adobe updates! The same is true of Microsoft as well. If Windows is telling you there are updates waiting don’t hesistate – install them.

The other main vector of attack is hijacked websites. Many, many entirely innocent websites are now infected by the Malware writers. Just by visting these sites your computer can become infected and there is every chance you will not know at the time. You PC might start to become unresponsive and perhaps you start getting strange search results and these are the classic signs of malware on your PC.

My best advice if you are one of those people who seems to get repeated virus infections is to replace your XP based PC with a new one running Windows 7. Windows 7 does seem to date the most secure Windows operating system and combined with something like Trend Micro Worry Free Business software appears to be able to keep the virus writers at bay.

The other alternative is to go for an Apple Mac. We have migrated a good number of users to Mac over the years and the problems with malware just doesn’t exist in the same way. With the recent release of Office 2011 for Mac, Apple users can now get Outlook again on Mac. We have started to role this out to users and so far it looks good – better than Entourage.

by hostadmin on Dec 22, 2010 at 12:12 PM

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